Happy Meal Book Jam
  Up Late    May 21, 2017     Eric Larkin







I want very much to eat at McDonald’s today.

In Canada.


If you are a regular reader of this blog (not likely) or have ever read it before (slightly more likely), you might be aware that I am obsessed with the Moby Illustrated Classics that used to come in the McDonald’s Happy Meal between 1978-1983. I did a whole series on it last summer. The odd and unexpected decision by a fast food corporation to promote literacy by including kid-sized adaptations of the classics with their most popular kid-oriented offering changed my life, and I will be forever grateful.


And look: what do I find in the LA Times this morning? They’re doing it again! In Canada. This is great news. Mostly for Canada, but still. (And embedded in Michael Schaub’s story is that video of PM Trudeau explaining quantum computing which will make you weep with envy, that Canada elected a leader who can connect brain to tongue and is curious about the world and educated and…. oh god… [weeps])


This time around, the kids are given a choice between book or toy, and the books are picture books from the excellent Kids Can Press, publishers of such soon-to-be classics as A Horse Named Steve and No Girls Allowed.


As Carolyn Kellogg reported in 2015 and 2016, McD’s did the same thing in the U.S. the last few years, even offering books in Spanish, with partners Reading Is Fundamental and HarperCollins.  

Though there is a part of me that kinda wishes they weren’t picture books, but more text-based, like the ones I found in my Happy Meals, according to a comment in Kellogg’s 2015 story, it sounds like the goal was to increase family reading time. Obviously, that’s a worthy idea.

Huzzah for the Happy Meal, I say. (You can even get apple slices or yogurt these days.) Keep up the good work. Don’t you love those rare times you’re pleasantly surprised by a massive corporation? And parents, be ready to take advantage of when/if they bring books back to the Happy Meal; it could be your chance to get those reading hooks into your kids.

It totally 100% worked on me.


Reliving those glorious days.

Too excited to see what I got; I just dumped everything on the table.

Ok, got things back in order. Now, what’s this one all about?

And then? AND THEN?!


Totally collectible.

French fries are workable bookmarks.

Food is gone; stories remain. Forever.
































Sometimes the Happy Meal prize is not a book.


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